My clinical psychologist friend Linda used to assure me that early childhood parenting is a time of “Survival Mode.” How right she was! Young children require constant attention. Trouble is always lurking just around the corner, and if you are not vigilant at all times, they could swallow knives. They could jump off a wall. They could run out into the public and strip off all of their clothing, diapers and all.
This is why we moms must let some non-essential things go by the wayside, such as personal hygiene. Sometimes, we may go one day without a shower — just put up your hair in a pony tail and add another layer of deodorant — but two, or perhaps even three, days? Yes, it could happen to the best of us moms.
Worse yet, I had precious little time to do simple but necessary household chores such as taking out the kitchen trash. As long as the trash bin wasn’t completely overflowing, I would squish it down with all my might and would let another day (or days) go by before I finally tied up that little white trash bag and took it about 25 feet to the garage where we keep our trash bin. Believe me — that is just too much time and distance for us busy moms.
Once, when I had a college student over to help me with the kids while I packed and got ready for our family vacation the next day, I was upstairs trying for the fifth time that day to step into a shower.
“Mrs. Cheng! What is this?” she yelped from downstairs. I sighed, then I turned off the water and got dressed again to go see what she was so panicked about. She was examining some grains of rice crawling on the kitchen floor.
“They’re….they’re MAGGOTS!” She exclaimed. I took a closer look. Yup, I had maggots climbing out of my kitchen trash bin and rolling down onto the floor. Oh my goodness. How did I let so much trash sit around for so long that flies would start family planning in my house?
We did the best we could gathering up the little white creepy crawlies, stuffing them back into the trash bag which we threw into the garage trash bin. I began to sense that I was letting some important things in life slide and vowed to redouble my efforts at personal hygiene and domestic duties even as we left on our vacation the next morning.
After a wonderful week and a half in paradise, we returned home, relaxed and in post-vacation bliss. We walked into our sunny home, and I began opening the windows to air out the place while my husband unloaded our luggage. The kids were still peacefully asleep in the back seat.
When I went into the kitchen, I noticed that there were numerous black dots on the hardwood floor, so I bent down to see what they were.
Oh my! I must have missed a few maggots which turned into flies! Ewwwww…
Without any nourishment from my empty trash bin, they all eventually died while we were gone and dropped like, well, flies. We went through an entire life cycle of fruit flies, right here in my kitchen! Fearing that the Health Department or, at the very least, Child Protective Services, would come get me, I decided to work a little harder on my home economics skills.
Today, I do take showers quite regularly. Our kids have now become old enough to actually help out in the kitchen, sometimes even taking out the trash for me. We have moved out of the Survival Mode and onto Teenage Mode, but that’s another story.
All I know is that I do not want to ever see maggots in our house again!